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spider spec

Online letting agent recommendations

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Hi all,

Does anyone have any experience of online letting agents (Property Hub Lets or others) and can recommend a service through positive experaince?

My wife and I are just nearing completion on our second rental property, our first in a limited company. Our first property is a terrace house which we let through a high street letting agent for 12% plus tenancy upfront tenancy fees. At present there has been no issues and good service which were happy with (as we live 400 miles away) but the fee is eating into revenue some what.

Our second rental property is newly refurbished two bed, two bath, luxury flat in a old Georgian Grade 2 listed building in a great location overlooking a prestigious square, two mins walk from a train station and 35 min commute to Manchester.

Our keen considerations (and concerns!) about using a online management solution are:

1. Online agents ability to source, vet and secure quality professional tenants (quickly) who will pay the premium price sought.

2. Their reliability in resolving issues of maintenance and tenant queries

3. Reliability of rent collection and payment.

The offerings i've found include

4. Property Hub Lets

5. Lettingaproperty.com

6. Howsy

7. Purplebricks

8. 99Home

9. Openrent

Any advice and support would be most appreciated! 

Thanks,

Spider

 

 

 

Our

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Hi Spider 

Why would an experienced online letting agent or online lettings management company have any more difficulty in carrying out the tasks 1,2 and 3 any more than a high street letting agent?

What are you basing your concerns on?

Find and connect to me on Linkedin


Conrad Paton

+44 7957 959851

conradpaton@yahoo.co.uk

https://www.linkedin.com/in/conrad-paton-424446110

 

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Conrad, 

In reply to your first question... while on paper i'd agree high-street and online agents should be able to resolve all three points however one could argue that a nationally focused online agent has less incentive to ensure issues are resolved as they're less reliant on maintaining a good local reputation.

In answer to your second... new entrants to any sector/market will run at a loss to encourage uptake and often provide a good service for the first period once established but when their customer base expands they often run into issues with their business model (think many exmaples of now struggling fintech companies). I have read mixed reviews online for a number of the online agents but being the sceptical person i am don't trust online reviews - they're to easily faked or posted by competitors . I'd would be more inclined to trust and actual bona fide investor through this forum hence the question in my original post. 

Do you have experience of using online agents you can share?

Spider

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Hi Spider,

I'm an investor, developer and recently an online estate agent. I would kindly suggest that you look at how some online estate agents work. Most now, and I'm included, work in specific areas. e.g. I have control of all Croydon post codes for my national online estate agency. I cover the same area that approx 5 branches of a high street agents would. I choose what properties I sell or rent. If I don't want to sell/rent somewhere, for whatever reason, i dont have to. I dont have to dilute my service levels  because my boss tells me to. I am VERY reliant on maintaining a good local reputation.

But unlike high street agents, lettings or sales, i set my own targets. If instructed to find tenants for a rental property, I would find the right qualified tenants, not the first ones who could hold a pen and would be ready to sign.

As an investor, I sourced my own tenants now due to being let down and lied to by 'reputable' local multi branch high street letting agents. (Brinkley's in Putney, London, SW15 ). Mr Brinkley himself was speaking utter Sh*t down the phone to me at one point.

My personal and professional vetting process is now much more robust than any local high street agent would use, because I'm allowed to set my vetting standard above everybody else's

I dont understand why would a company run at a loss, whether new to a sector or not? I dont get where you are coming from, but then I do not have a degree in business studies or similar. I've just invested my own money, rented, refurbished and developed my own properties for the last 12+ years!

My estate agency customer base expands at the rate I want it too. 

BUT...As a bona fide investor, the advice I would say to you or anyone else is this:

There are good high street agents and good online agents. Be insistent they keep you informed of all 'vetted' candidate tenants. Insist they provide you copies of the tenants ID, references and all paperwork and dont accept "this guy has past vetting/qualifying and wants to stay 3 years at full rental asking price". 

Whoever you choose to rent your property, be sure they understand your BTL mortgage requirements for tenants (if you have a BTL mortgage), they adhere to these requirements and they are transparent at every stage of the rental process.

In the past, when selling my development properties I have used an online estate agent (hatched.co.uk) and they were excellent value for money. I have never rented my own properties through an online agent nor a high street agent for that matter.

Being online does not automatically mean worse, (it can actually mean better in some cases) it just means cheaper due to less overheads.

I hope I have addressed some of your concerns and I wish you good luck in the future.

Find and connect to me on LinkedIn 


Conrad Paton

+44 7957 959851

conradpaton@yahoo.co.uk

https://www.linkedin.com/in/conrad-paton-424446110

 

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